NBA Commissioner David Stern has claimed the league must start taking overseas television viewers into account on its scheduling, in a move that would be welcomed by European fans.
The NBA’s usual evening tip-off times are hugely unfavourable on this side of the Atlantic, with only the Toronto Raptors accustomed to holding weekend games in their afternoon and few other daytime contests until mid-season when US network ABC has a regular Sunday afternoon fixture.
It has limited the league’s primetime excursions in the UK and in mainland Europe but Stern, who steps down later this season, believes providing live broadcasts to suit a variety of time zones would have a massively positive impact.
Speaking to reporters in Beijing, he said: “I think that the NBA is going to have to wrestle over the next decade as more and more of our viewing audiences are outside the United States is what’s the best time for games to be played so that those fans can enjoy them live.”
The NBA, which is understood to have agreed a TV deal with Sky Sports for the UK and Ireland, already makes its games available internationally through League Pass online with take-up thought to be higher than for the other two major US leagues.
For non-nocturals, a change would be a blessing.
He added: ”I think that’s a fun problem that we’re going to be addressing because so much viewing is happening outside the United States now.”
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